As I Lay Dying

A dark exploration of teenage angst and depression. Contains content which may offend.

I sat on the floor of my bedroom, my heart pounding. This was it, the final end to a miserable chapter of my existence. Fourteen years I’d wasted on this planet, living only to serve the needs of others since I was 4 years old. Every day I’d been told I needed to do better, to work harder, to achieve more, and I was sick of it. Being everybody’s everything was a hard enough burden without having to be perfect at it too, but that didn’t seem to register with my parents.

My need for perfection had led me to lose the only man I loved, to walk away from him like he didn’t matter and never look back. He wasn’t ‘perfect’ enough for me, wasn’t ‘good’ enough and didn’t please my parents, so I’d left. Stupid reasons thought up by an even more stupid kid. Still, it would all be over soon and he could finally move on without me. After all, he’d been with his girlfriend nearly six months, so it wasn’t like they weren’t serious. I mean, sure she treated him like absolute rubbish, but he was happy – or so he said. Mind you, we were both very good at pretending we were happy.

The razor was still in my hand, its blade glinting in the afternoon sunlight. I asked myself if I should do it, and smiled. Of course I should die – it was only natural for scum to be eliminated, and I was the biggest piece of scum going. Jumping from man to man, always after that one perfect relationship to convince me I’d done the right thing and hadn’t messed up my entire life. When they inevitably left, I blamed myself and cut until I thought I was gonna die.

I took a deep breath, raised the razor, and pressed it to my wrist. Still I couldn’t bring myself to open my veins, and I sat there, rocking back and forth slightly. I looked at my phone, and saw it flashing at me. He was calling me, probably to tell me about the latest bust-up with his girlfriend. I ignored it for a while, then eventually picked up in frustration. Maybe if I was rude enough, he’d go away.

“What?” I snapped.

“Hey, I was just ringing to say something I should have said a while ago,” he began, his voice soft. I felt tears spring to my eyes as I remembered his smile, his laugh, the way he held me and kept me safe on cold winter nights… and I interrupted him.

“I tried to kill myself.” I sobbed. “I couldn’t take it anymore, and I wanted to end it… I’m sorry.”

“Hey, hey, you don’t need to be sorry. I was calling to tell you I love you. Will you give me another chance?”

“How can you want that after everything I did to you?”

“Because it’s you. Just you, and that’s all that matters. Now dry your eyes, put down whatever you were gonna kill yourself with, and meet me out front in twenty minutes. We need to talk.”

Mother of one, mental health carer and author. Jess loves books of all kinds, and does her best to bring worlds to life.

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